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Editors Note Detail

Volume 52 Issue 3 - March 2014

March 16, 2014

I prefer an androgynous society

I have always wondered what it would be like to live in a genderless society. A society where gender roles do not follow the binary code that keep men and women in asymmetrical positions of power. Mind you, unlike sex, gender is just a performance.

 It is not an ascribed status but a human construct given that men and women act differently in society because of role expectations. We teach children to act in a certain manner on the basis of their sex or anatomical difference. From such we then expect them to internalise this and act the way we taught them.

They are not born such. In her book, The Left Hand of Darkness, LeGuin argues that because most of the time the people on planet Gethen are neutral (neither men nor women) and asexual, sexuality is not a ruling social, economic or political factor. All people are biologically the same and therefore all are equal. LeGuin also postulates that the origin of wars is male aggression.

Consequently, because in planet Gethen there is neither male nor female, war is something foreign to them. War is “a vast Rape,” says LeGuin and by eliminating “the masculine that rapes and the femininity that is raped,” war is abolished. However, on planet, earth male and female are the defining characters of human beings.

I will argue that it is because of these binary codes that women find themselves at the bottom rung of society as superfluous appendages. Women are conditioned from an early age to be subservient to their male counterparts while on the other hand the male is conditioned to assume the master status.

The result is that women are kept in subordinate positions not because they were born to but because the male so desires. When LeGuin argues that by eliminating the masculine that rapes and femininity that is raped, war is abolished, she does not literally refer to war as in taking up arms and fighting each other. Rather, it is the rivalry that arises between men and women when certain social constructs seem to be violated.

What is wrong with a woman wearing a pair of trousers? Does it make men less men? Why do women who wear mini-skirts have to be subjected humiliation where as it happened in some neighbouring countries they are stripped naked? This is the war that LeGuin is talking about which derives from male aggression.

Have you ever had of women stripping a man naked because he wore a skirt or a revealing trousers? Why are men who exhibit feminine tendencies regarded as weak? Why are males associating more with women called bo pharameseseng? Are women such a bad influence on them? This is the war that LeGuin refers to as male aggression. Because of this aggression women are inherently conditioned as subordinate. They are judged to be less of human beings unless they exhibit masculine tendencies. Their individuation process is therefore determined by what men desire either emotionally, spiritually or physically.

I prefer an androgynous society because people are judged not on the basis of their sex but as human beings only different in their biological make up. But how can this be achieved in a world where sexual differentiation is enforced with the special vigilance reserved for instilling that a culture believes to be natural? ENDS

Polling

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